A cursory glance at the rankings document basically returns fairly similar ranking results for the various universities when compared to the Guardian 2005 University Ranking Guide. For a quick commentary on the Guardian university Guide and where our Malaysian private colleges twinning partners stand, read my post on "World Class Universities?"
I'd be providing a more detailed update on whether the Times guide made any significant differences to our private college twinning university rankings as compared to the Guardian guide.
However, I'd also like the readers to take note that these guides exactly what they claim to be, "guides". No one disputes that they are likely to contain elements of discrepancy as well as probably a tolerable degree of inaccuracy. However, they do provide a decent guide as to where a university stands - is it Top 10? Is it mid-table average? Or is it near the bottom of the heap. One of the anonymous comment for my earlier post, asked:
It's good that you decide to review the university ranking but frankly speaking, how important is the ranking when you are looking for a potential employee? Whether students graduates from top universitis or not, their work experience and attitude and etc would be making a bigger difference.There's a fair bit of diverse opinions on the above questions. Some of my fellow entrepreneurs would disgree with my opinions. However, I've found my "formula" for recruitment to have served me very well, which acts as the basis for my opinion:
- The university a potential employee attends is very important to me in my recruitment process. And just as important are his academic grades. Just as important are the other "intangibles" such as work attitude, willingness to learn (and learn fast) as well as "street-smartness". But the university and the candidate's grades will serve as the determining factor on whether I should shorlist him/her for an interview.
- Experience is what I'll "classify" as useful in a candidate's resume. However, my general philosophy is that all things equal (e.g., attitude, hardwork etc.), I have a preference for a candidate with good academic results from a good university over someone with weaker results from a not-so-great university, even if the latter has greater experience. I believe that while in the short term, the fresher candidate will be less productive, he or she will have a better potential and is likely to outperform the more experienced candidate within a reasonably short period of time.
I will have to completely disagree with you regarding choosing someone with academics versus experience.
Academics can only take you so far, and can only give you surface knowledge of most things. Experience helps you understand. It lets you live what you're learning, helps you appreciate the knowledge more.
At least with experience you know they've gone through it (or similar) and have a grasp of what is expected of them. Academic ability can't guarantee you that. There are people who get straight As - but are real dunderheads. They only know the material superficially; they do not understand it.
Grades are highly arbitarily. Who's to say what deserves a certain grade and what doesn't? Especially in a country like Malaysia where you get grades based on how much you can butter up to the examiner - personal knowledge and understanding is frowned upon. (Just take a look at Moral Studies for evidence)
As I said in an earlier post, there are people who are geniuses and who can flourish at what they're doing - they just don't fit the school system. Like the friend who is brilliant at design, photography, and music but didn't get straight As. He is one of the most intelligent and capable people I know...MUCH MORE capable than those "straight A" people (and I know a bunch) who eventually lost track of what they're doing.
As long as the Malaysian system does not take into account the various types of intelligences available, academic standards cannot yet be taken as the ultimate arbitrater of who's good and who's not.
Let's look at it from the perspective of a fresh graduate. There are hundreds or even thousands of others like you applying for a job. How are you going to differentiate yourself from the pack? What do you have to offer?
Persons with a few years of work experience may be able to leverage the experience, but as a fresh grad, what can you say in your letter of application and resume that will make the potential employer want to shortlist you for an interview?
Obviously, your grades and the uni you attended would be one of the criteria. At the very least we can be assured that the cadidate has exam smarts (and probably had the discipline to study and work hard as well) if the candidate has great grades from a reputable uni.
Experience doesn't necessarily have to be strictly work-related though. There are many, MANY opportunities out there - volunteering, short-term courses, what have you.
I haven't even graduated and already I have quite some experience with me - radio DJing courses, being a junior reporter, being a freelance web designer, volunteering for various projects (and starting one of my own), soon will be on a multi-country study abroad program...if I can do it, plenty of others can too. The opportunities are out there; TAKE THEM.
Exam smarts? I didn't even study for my exams and I got good grades. And sometimes the stuff we have to study for can be wildly inaccurate on occasion. Also, who's to say those people actually UNDERSTAND what's in their exams? Why is it that I, a non-Science student, could help someone with PHYSICS for their SPM?
I personally don't put much stock on grades. That's just me. I'm just saying, grades aren't EVERYTHING, and they shouldn't be. They can be PART of it, but not ALL of it.
Its a generic guide useful to some but not to everyone though.
If you looking for continuing education for example, you'll realise Birkbeck and OU are both missing as their main targets are not fresh undergrads.
what about a so-so academic results from good university compared to a good academic results from a not-so-great university?
which will you choose then?
Anon - I'll have to see the person myself and decide.
Whether a uni is good or bad depends on what you make of it. I was in a so-called "premier school" in secondary school, but I learnt nothing from there. I'm in a uni that people consider "overrated" but I'm quite liking it here.
This is the sort of thing where relying on results isn't extremely helpful. It's not what grades you get; it's what you make of it.
I would have to concur with Tiara that there are brilliant people out there that may not have the academic qualifications, stellar results, or come from top universities.
I have been very lucky to have worked with some of them and that we have won various awards consecutively.
When I hire I look at what type of knowledge and experience they say they have and whether it fits my requirements. First impression is that I do look at how they express themselves on their resume.
Generally, I only hire people with experience, so if you are a fresh grad, but have taken the initiative, for example, to setup your own home intrusion detection system, published a community e-zine, ran a sugar cane stall cum car wash, designed a courier service for the handicapped, etc… and also compliment the job requirements, I will consider.
In fact, if you are brilliant and is at the forefront in your domain of expertise, but don’t have a degree, and the person next to you who is also competing for the same job and have a tier-one university degree, you will be given the same chance.
As for University ranking goes, it is more important to look at how well they “rank” (explicitly & unofficially) in a particular discipline. For example, if I wanted people with superior mathematical/physics background I will look at Caltech, even though they are overall ranked lower than Harvard. If I wanted to look for people in the art & design/computer graphics/animation I would look at Calarts where the current Creative Director of Pixar and many of George Lucas team went to school. If I wanted to look at candidates for organizational change management program, I will consider University Hetfordshire, because they have a very unique program (in Complexity Science), many world leaders and organizational leaders have attended; if I were to look for a classical trained musician, I would consider Julliard. If I wanted to hire a deconstructionist philosopher, I would get a graduate from UC Irvine, where the most famous philosopher of the century, Derrida taught. The quick sampling I have done here shows that some of the colleges are not highly rank, but they have unique enclave of “greatness.” Another example, Peter Drucker the old man of Management theory who has been invited to be a faculty at Harvard, but have decided not to join, but instead teaches at Claremont graduate School. So, if you wanted to learn with Drucker you go to Claremont. You have a one-to-one relationship with him, and that is surely better than being in a program where you are nothing but a number. There are so many “great minds” and “learning communities” out there they aren’t necessary listed on the yellow pages, but with an open mind and a little bit of homework we seek out the passion people seek and we learn.
Donald Trump select a "Book Smarts" Kendra Todd as his new apprentice in his TV reality show "The Apprentice". Unlike season 1 winner Bill Rancic is a "Street Smarts" without any paper qualification. Thus, it is really up to employer whether he prefer a street smarts or book smarts.
At the time Genting Bhd chairman appointed Tan Koon Swan as a General Manager of his company to develop Genting Highland Resort. Tan Koon Swan only have STPM qualification and is just a Senior Tax Advisor From Esso.
Even in high-tech industry, Charles B Wang, founder of Computer Associate(CA) also appointed a non-graduate Sanjay Kumar as a Chief Executive Officer and President.
Thus, it really depend on employer.
I think Tony's argument is saying that if all things being equal, he would choose an individual with academic superiority (from top schools) over an individual that is lacking in such credentials.
I can understand the rationale, because he is mainly seeking fresh grads to fill non-managerial positions:
1. They are cheap to start with
2. They can be groom
3. Good academics = predictable outcome & proficiency
Imagine, if you were to hire a junior business executive who fail to be legible in his proposals to clients...
However, I will not base my evaluation purely on the academic side, there are people who are very bad at filling up forms, but is capable at prospecting and closing sales. Filling up a form is easier than teaching a person to close in sales. In fact, if the person contribute positively to the growth of my company, I will hire them an assistant to fill the forms.
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